The Edmond Sun

December 12, 2012

Local church heralds Jesus' birth

Mark Schlachtenhaufen
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Two thousand years ago, the Bible says, God gave the world the ultimate Christmas gift — the birth of a child who would be a ransom for all mankind.

This week, the First Presbyterian Church of Edmond will herald the Christ child’s birth in Bethlehem as a cast of 100-plus present “One Incredible Moment: A Musical Celebration of the Majesty of the Manger.”

Under the direction of Edmond music icon Terry Attebery and stage support from members of the metro fine arts community, the family friendly musical drama will be 7:30 p.m. nightly Thursday through Sunday at First Presbyterian, 1001 S. Rankin St., six blocks south of the University of Central Oklahoma.

Best-selling author Max Lucado provided the emotion-filled narrative and composer Tom Fettke (“The Majesty and Glory of Your Name") crafted the music, enhanced by a state-of-the-art sound system and lighting. The church’s sound engineer is Tom Boles, who once upon a time toured with a well-known rock band.

First Presbyterian provides the period set depicting the little town of Bethlehem, where the Bible says Jesus was born, the manger and a multi-generational cast. Cast members in period costumes portray Mary, the mother of Jesus, and Joseph, his carpenter-father, residents of Bethlehem and Jerusalem and the wise men, shepherds and the devout citizen named Simeon who were all compelled to come see Jesus.

Attebery said since the congregation last presented the musical drama several years ago many members of the community have asked him if First Presbyterian was going to renew it.

“I feel like it’s been a gift to our community,” he said.

As a musician, Attebery was immediately drawn to the music of “One Incredible Moment,” but he was also moved by Lucado’s words.

“It tells the story so beautifully, yet so simply,” he said.

Regarding the musical drama’s impact, Attebery recalled a former student of his who brought her elementary-aged daughter to see the musical drama. Afterward he received a note from the parent. On the way home after seeing it, the daughter said, “Mom, I want to know more about Jesus.”

“That’s what it’s all about,” Attebery said.

Jim VanHemert, First Presbyterian’s minister of music, said guests will be treated to music that is easy to hear that supports the narrative, the story of Jesus’ life.

“That’s what all good music does,” VanHemert said.

VanHemert said the musical drama helps fulfill First Presbyterian’s mission, which includes inviting others to join them on a path of discipleship and to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas in a season in which much activity is focused on secular activities including shopping and decorations.

They are good and necessary, but they must never supersede the true meaning of Christmas, which is Christ’s birth, VanHemert said.

Tickets for limited reserved seating may be purchased at the church’s website. Proceeds will help defray production costs. Free admission and free child care are available. For more information, call First Presbyterian at 341-3602 or visit | 341-2121, ext. 108